MACE CASE: Behaviour of Opposition MPs defied Speaker’s orders – Jones admits in court


Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones, while being cross-examined by Attorney General Anil Nandlall SC, admitted that Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) were in defiance of the Speaker of the National Assembly when they behaved disorderly to block the passage of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Bill.

Jones, along with trade unionist Norris Witter, moved to the High Court contending that the Bill was not legally passed and as such, could not become law.

Jones and Witter are asking the court to grant a declaration that the holding and or continuation of proceedings of the National Assembly on the day in question with the use of a replacement Mace without any approved motion to do so, is ultra vires the Constitution.

The parties are also seeking to have funds which were taken or distributed from the NRF to be replenished.

Christopher Jones takes the oath as a Member of Parliament [Photo; DPI/September 1, 2020]
On Wednesday, as the hearing continued before Justice Navindra Singh, the Attorney General questioned Jones about events that unfolded on December 29, 2021, as the government sought to pass the new NRF Bill.

Jones was asked whether he recalled the date in question when Opposition MPs protested in the House as the Bill was about to be voted on and passed. He was also asked about their attempts to prevent the passage of the Bill by their shouting and blowing of whistles.

Jones responded in the affirmative and was further grilled on whether that behaviour was in defiance of the Speaker Manzoor Nadir.

He admitted that the behaviour contravened the Parliamentary Standing Orders.  Jones added that all of the MPs, with the exception of Khemraj Ramjattan, were out of their seats during the protest.

Jones also agreed that the Parliamentarians did not receive permission from the Speaker to be out of their seats.

The Opposition Chief Whip acknowledged that as a result of this behaviour, the Speaker was forced to delay the House’s proceedings for some time that day.

Coincidentally, when questioned by Nandlall about the attempt by Opposition MPs to steal the Speaker’s mace, Jones said that he remembers the incident but not who the MPs were.

The AG further asked Jones if he remembers his party members playing “tug of war” with the Speaker’s mace.

However, Jones said that the altercation was out of his view but recalls seeing “media clips” on social media.

Nandlall will continue his examination of Jones on December 9.

During Wednesday’s hearing, one of the applicant’s attorneys, Selwyn Pieters, made a preliminary application for Justice Singh to remove himself from the case.

According to Pieters, the Judge was “biased” towards him and so, his client did not have confidence in having a fair trial.  He argued that on Tuesday while in the Judge’s chambers, Justice Singh refused to shake his hands which showed his hostility towards him.

Pieters claimed that Singh behaved hostile towards him by not letting him appear virtually for previous hearings of the case which, he said, led him to venture to appear physically.

The Judge inquired from Pieters if he had made an application to the High Court to be heard via zoom since the case was being heard in person.

To this, Pieters told the court that he had contacted the Judge’s clerk.

Justice Singh told Pieters that he did not follow the proper court procedure and that his “logic seems difficult” to follow.

1 Comment
  1. Derk says

    This incident is well photographed and will remain in the annals of the parliament of Guyana, Guyanese and international viewers.
    Therefore, this means that those who profess to be ‘clean’ and yet supported this activity should be exposed because these individuals present themselves on other media platforms as puritans.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.